For When You Are Falling Apart

“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”  Pema Chodron

I’ve been sitting with this quote for a while, returning to it repeatedly throughout the week. It has such resonance. It reflects the story of my life perfectly. Coming together. Falling apart. Coming together. Falling apart. Yours, too?

I read Pema’s words differently today than I did when I first heard them many years ago. I’m learning not to take the “falling apart” so seriously and personally. I’m learning that the “falling apart” is not bad news. I’m learning that I don’t have to create some grand meaning about it, analyze it for weeks (or years!), or spin a stressful story about it. I can just let the emotions of it move through me in their own time, like storm clouds moving across the sky.

Pema says that the healing comes from letting there be room for it all. I don’t have to be so afraid of the grief or even the misery. Relief and joy will come once again. Eventually. Always.

I didn’t believe this when I went through a 6-year period of deep darkness and depression. I believed it was permanent. I couldn’t see my way through it. I spun terrible stories of doom. I tried to end it. It did end, but not in the desperate way I planned. It cleared. It cleared. I survived the storm.

When we take our falling apart times terribly seriously, we are seeding the emotional clouds. We do this innocently. The clouds become denser and more intense. There is no room left for the healing. When we leave the thoughts about what’s happening alone, the emotional storms dissipate naturally. There is room. There is nothing we have to do. Just as atmospheric storms naturally come and go, so do emotional storms. That’s just how the human psychological system works. We could leave them alone. We could let them dissipate.

I see Pema’s words as such good news now. We don’t have to fear the falling apart. We don’t have to cling to the coming together. We can make room for all of it.

I dedicate this post to my clients whom I love and for whom I have so much respect. They are doing the brave and daring work of transformation.


If this blog post resonates with you or if you’d like to explore a new perspective on grief, I’m opening up one session on my calendar this next week for the first person who responds, at no charge to you. Contact Me